This is by far the most innocent reason for any member of the Trump administration’s resignation so far. A senior official on the National Economic Council resigned Tuesday because he admitted to using cannabis in the past.
George David Banks was appointed as special assistant to the president for international energy and environmental policy in February of last year, as reported by POLITICO. Banks should get points for outlasting nearly everyone else appointed since Donald Trump took office last year, including the president’s original chief strategist, FBI Director, and Chief of Staff.
Apparently, Banks stepped down after being informed recently that he could not receive permanent security clearance, a result of his admitted cannabis use in 2013. Previously, Banks had been working with an interim security clearance, like several dozen other officials in the current White House.
Banks’ resignation sounds a little fishy to some. A former Obama-era official with experience in vetting personnel told POLITICO that, generally, officials are only denied security clearance for past drug use if they also failed to disclose the use during their vetting process, though Banks admitted to using cannabis.
An anonymous current official said they felt that Banks’ resignation had something to do with the general chaos in the executive branch following Rob Porter’s very public resignation last week over allegations of verbal and physical abuse by two ex-wives, and Speechwriter David Sorensen’s resignation just two days later amidst his own domestic abuse allegations.
“The whole thing is just demoralizing,” the current official told POLITICO. “I think a lot of us are scratching our heads.”
Banks had been instrumental in many of Trump’s environmental policy decisions, including his decision to back out of the Paris Agreement. “It was an honor to serve the president at the White House and I look forward to supporting the president in the future,” Banks said.
Photo via Flickr user Philip Bump